Frequently Asked Questions

What are the dates for the 2018 summer session?

Our next summer session runs from July 9th-August 3rd, 2018. For incoming students, there is also an orientation day on Friday, July 6th.

How long does it take to complete the program?

It takes two years and one month to earn your MFA.

View the course curriculum »

How does the low-residency schedule work?

The MFA in Comics low-residency schedule consists of three, one-month summer residencies in San Francisco along with part-time fall and spring semesters that can be completed from anywhere in the world.

Each day of the summer session begins with literary comics seminars in the morning, tools and techniques studios in the afternoon, and ends with intensive comics workshops focusing on every aspect of the creative process.

Between summer sessions, graduate cartoonists are paired one on one with professional mentors for biweekly meetings as well as online workshops with our graduate comics faculty.

This mentoring process is designed to support students as they complete their MFA in Comics thesis projects during the fall and spring semesters.

View the course curriculum »

Is this a fully accredited graduate program?

Yes.

The program and CCA are accredited by WASC and NASAD.

Learn more about program accreditation »

How many units are required to complete the program?

All graduate Comics students must complete 60 units to complete their MFA.

Review distribution of units per semester and summer session.

What kinds of courses will I take?

With courses in everything from the history and cultural impact of the comics medium to the future of digital comics, the program covers a lot of ground.

View full course descriptions »

Can international students apply?

Absolutely.

Read instructions for international student applications and visa information.

English proficiency exams must be completed prior to submitting the application.

Official English proficiency exam scores (TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE) must be sent to the college directly from the testing agency.

International applications will be considered incomplete -- and not reviewed -- until we  receive proof of English proficiency.

International students must also obtain an F1 visa to participate in our summer intensive sessions.

Can international students stay year-round in San Francisco ?

For the most part, no.

Because of the low-residency format, graduate cartoonists are enrolled in only 6 units per fall and spring semester.

F1 visas require international students to be full-time during the fall/spring semesters.

Our international students travel home between summer sessions.

When do I apply?

Applications opened November 1 and have a submission deadline of January 10.

Learn how to apply.

How many students are in each class?

We aim for an average cohort size of 12 students. Previous graduating classes have ranged from 10-14 students.

Our ideal cohort size is one that allows us to give everyone individual attention while creating a vibrant and active community of artists and storytellers.

How many students are on campus during the summer session?

With three cohorts of cartoonists on campus during the summer session, between 30-36 students participate in the program.

We have one cohort of new students, one of returning students, and one of students who are finishing up their third and final summer session before graduation.

What kinds of comics do students typically make?

Every kind of comics you can imagine.

There’s no house style here at CCA. The goal is to help all of our students create the best version of the kinds of comics they want to make.

See sample excerpts from alumni thesis projects.

Is there a thesis or final project?

Yes.

The program is designed to help students bring their dream comics projects to life as part of their thesis work.

Thesis projects may be serialized comics, graphic novels, or comics intended for the web.

See sample excerpts from alumni thesis projects.

How are the summer courses different than courses in the fall and spring?

Very different.

Both valuable in different ways. Summer courses offer students the opportunity to work in a tight-knit community of cartoonists from morning to night.

Comics is a unique medium and also requires time and space to produce.

Fall and spring semester courses offer that time and space with guided mentoring and instruction.

The fall/spring online studios keep everyone in contact throughout the year and faculty and peers continue to provide feedback on your work.

Who is the faculty? What kind of comics work do faculty members do?

We have a stellar faculty who specializes in all aspects of making comics.

From comics historians to award-winning graphic novelists, our faculty cares about the art of teaching as much as the comics medium itself.

Check out our current faculty lineup and don’t hesitate to reach out to any of our instructors if you have questions about the program.

Do I get to talk directly to my one-on-one mentor?

Yes, yes, yes.

While our fall online studio course is designed for asynchronous communication (since students are spread out across world time zones), our one-on-one mentoring is always real-time.

If you are in the Bay Area, you can meet with your mentor over coffee.

If you live on the other side of the world, our mentors will Skype or FaceTime with you every other week to provide feedback and advice as you create your thesis project.

Is there housing? Where can I stay while in San Francisco for the summer sessions?

Yes.

Many of our students stay in our Panoramic residency during the summer session.

Even students living in the extended Bay Area often choose to stay in CCA housing in order to cut down on their daily commute.

Learn more about housing options.

Note: Student housing is available only during the summer session for MFA in Comics cartoonists. Students in the program must secure their own housing during the fall and spring semesters.

Do we get to talk to industry professionals while in the program?

Yes, in both courses, including at special events.

San Francisco offers us a wealth comics industry professionals to invite to classes during the summer session.

In addition to classroom visits, the summer session features the Comics in the City lecture series each Friday evening.

Can I maintain my job while completing the program?

Yes.

Many of our students maintain employment during the fall and spring semesters.

The intensive summer session requires all students to complete four weeks of morning-to-evening coursework.

Once each intensive session has completed, the flexibility of the fall and spring semester schedule allows for students to both work on their thesis projects as well as maintain other employment.

Do most of the students in the program live near San Francisco during the fall and spring semesters or do they return to other parts of the US and beyond?

About half of our students live near San Francisco during the fall and spring semesters.

Those students are required to secure their own housing while not attending the MFA in Comics summer session.

The other half of our students return home during the fall and spring and complete their thesis and coursework remotely.

Are there scholarships or other financial aid available?

Yes and yes.

Learn more about scholarships and financial aid.

What are some of the careers students have gone onto after completing the program?

Our alumni have gone on to publish their thesis projects, obtain adjunct and full-time comics teaching positions, secure storyboarding jobs for major motion pictures, write for monthly comics, and edit entire lines of comics for children’s education.

I still have a question. Is there someone I can contact?

Email MFA in Comics program chair Matt Silady.